THE PLAY MY MOTHER HATES
Swandive Theatre; at Bryant-Lake Bowl through June 28
The Play My Mother Hates takes place, alternately, in heaven, hell, and on earth, with setting changes effected by low-budget flip cards depicting drawings evoking realms both celestial and infernal (the one in which we live is, appropriately enough, represented by a tavern). But Paradise Lost this comedy ain't. Up in heaven, God (Jason Vogen) is a big, bald guy reading a teen idol magazine until the Archangel Michael (Aaron Konigsmark) draws him back to his real duties, which generally involve screwing up human affairs in an epic manner. So the almighty calls in Jesus Christ (Josh Vogen) and sends him back down to earth, this time with idle thoughts of rapture and apocalypse. Just about everything Vogen's God does is pretty idle, come to think of it; he plays the deity as dunderheaded, feckless, and more than a little swishy. He also grabs many of the laughs. Down in hell, Satan (Steven Bucko) plots with the Devil's Advocate (Meg DiScorio) to send the Antichrist (Rachel Flynn) down to earth to kill Jesus and then, as far as I can figure, call down the same fire and brimstone for which God seems to hanker. The proceedings go on to include Jesus losing a game show based on facts about his life (Vogen, a rumpled everydude, gives us Jesus as preachy slacker), and a slide-show from Satan explaining that the schism between Old Brimstone Breath and his former employer came about over a piece of designer clothing. This is hit-and-miss stuff, but the cast gamely plows through it with blasphemous glee. By the end, both sides in the battle of good against evil realize they are two sides of the same coin (even without any help from Buddha), and literally kiss and make up. And then do so again. Basically, this is on the level of an upper-division Fringe Festival offering, an hour of silliness that goes down well in a venue that serves libations. And there's nothing wrong with that.